Elvis impersonator charged in scam

MORRISON – A longtime area Elvis impersonator is in Whiteside County Jail on $500,000 bond, charged with stealing from several area businesses under the guise that he was raising money for local schools.

Michael D. Clardie, 57, of Sterling, is charged with eight counts of burglary, which carry 2 to 7 years in prison, and five counts of theft by deception, which carry 1 to 3 years. He has a preliminary hearing Thursday.

One of the businesses called Rock Falls Police on June 30, Sgt. Tim Fisher said.

Between May 5 and June 23, Clardie went to Rock Falls businesses Culver’s, Jack Spencer Insurance, Freedom Bank, La Familia, and Pillars Repair with the “intent to commit a theft,” court documents say.

Using the company name “Team Spirit,” Clardie asked the businesses to buy cups that would have their business logos on them. He said money raised by selling the cups would go to athletic groups at local schools, Fisher said.

Four of the businesses gave Clardie less than $500, one gave him more, Fisher said.

Clardie told the businesses that he was raising money for athletic groups at Rock Falls, Sterling or Dixon high schools and Rock Falls Middle School. None of the schools had a fundraising agreement or contract with him, and “Team Spirit” is not a registered business with either the county or the state Department of Revenue, Fisher said.

Clardie never gave the businesses the cups, did not give the money back or give any money to the schools, Fisher said.

More charges may be pending. Fisher asks any other businesses that may have dealt with Clardie to call him at 815-622-1140.

Clardie performs as an Elvis impersonator throughout the Sauk Valley, most recently at a “Tribute to Elvis” at the Historic Dixon Theatre in May.

In 2002, he was sentenced in Whiteside County to 4 years in prison on four counts of theft. That same year, he was sentenced to 2 years of probation and 6 months in jail on an unrelated burglary case.